Design thinking!! –we hear this term a lot but what is design thinking? Are you clear on it?

In this post I hope to clarify what design thinking is and why it is so important in education. Many of you may associate design thinking with occupation of designers yet all great innovators in literature, art, music, science, engineering and business have practised it in their work.

Design thinking is about process! A process that helps us to systematically extract, learn and apply a human centred approach to solve problems in a creative and innovative way in all areas of work. It is an iterative way of working where you are looking to understand the user, challenge assumptions and redefine problems in the attempt to find an alternative strategies or solutions that may not be so obvious on the onset – that is why it is sometimes referred to thinking ‘outside the box’.

Design thinking is centred on developing an understanding of people for whom we are designing the product or service or solving the problem for! Design thinking helps you to

  • question what you know
  • question the problem
  • question your assumptions
  • question implications

So not only do you develop a human centred approach but your curiosity and questioning skills are enhanced. You are in turn more aware and reflective!

The Phases of Design Thinking

  • Empathise – learn about your users
  • Define – defining the needs of the user using the insights gathered
  • Ideate – challenging you assumptions and generating ideas for innovative solutions
  • Prototype – creating the solutions to test
  • Test – testing solutions.

I think we could use a diagram here so I have used one from the internet which I liked ( I think I liked it because it’s a lot like our logo at Kapture8 but I can’t take the credit for it – Pinterest)

These stages above are not linear and do not necessarily work in a particular order. They can often overlap, work in parallel and repeat iteratively and interactively.

So now we have defined Design thinking as essentially a problem solving approach it is really important to realise the value added benefits it brings to education practice. I believe education and life learning is essential to us all!  The way we think about education needs to change – education has always been about transferring knowledge from person to another – teacher to student! Curriculum is often split into topics and these topics or chunks of knowledge are delivered to the students. But the world is not just rapidly changing – it has changed so much already. We don’t need containers of information, we need dynamic, creative and confident people to help create the future. This is why different, innovative approaches to education are needed – so we don’t kill the natural curiosity and creativity – we nuture and develop it!

This is where the design thinking approach is important- it nutures and emphasises our human talents and abilities. No we cannot get rids of all existing curriculum but adding a design thinking approach and giving it equal importance will only benefit all students in our education system.

Instead of just transferring knowledge we must endeavour to develop skills, teach students to think and learn and build character, and it only by addressing these areas can we cultivate potential and increase potential and talent in all learners.